Classified as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" since 1981, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is an "authentic and lively village, offering a remarkable architectural ensemble of which "the church, the ramparts, the chapels, the aqueduct, the fountains, the alliances of water and stone, the pastel tones of tiles and tuff "are the symbols.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is part of the Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon, which straddles the two departments of the Var and the Alpes de Haute-Provence and is also located on the territory of the UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence, a nature reserve classified by Unesco which extends over 60 communes of the Alpes de Haute-Provence department.
Today, Moustiers has about 700 inhabitants and its economy revolves around tourism and the earthenware tradition to which a Museum pays tribute.
A very rich heritage
The parish church
"Listed as a historical monument in 1913, the church proudly displays its Lombard bell tower, one of the most beautiful in Provence. This square tufa tower rises twenty-two meters high and is divided into four floors with twin openings. Dated from the 12th century, it was one of the three moving bell towers recorded in Europe. The Romanesque nave from the same period is divided into five bays with barrel vaults. The pilasters flare upwards, a fairly common phenomenon in Romanesque churches. The exterior buttressed walls compensate for this movement. Three later, round-barrel vaulted chapels open onto this nave.
Pierre de Pratis, the commendatory prior, ordered the church enlarged in 1336; the axis of the nave was not respected and it is not known whether the prior wanted to tilt the choir in the direction of Jerusalem or to recall the position of Christ's head on the cross. The present altar is a fourth century white marble sarcophagus representing the passage of the Red Sea. »
Notre-Dame de Beauvoir Chapel
"After climbing the 262 steps (formerly 365) of a stone staircase on the hillside, one reaches the chapel overlooking the village. The seven oratories that lined the path gave way in 1860 to the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross, decorated much later with earthenware tiles made by Simone Garnier.
The small chapel was built at the end of the 12th century on the remains of a Marian temple built in the 5th century.
Like some other chapels of the alpine arc, the sanctuary of Notre Dame de Beauvoir is known for its "susciter". In the XVIIth century, stillborn children were brought back to life there, the time of their baptism, thus reaching heaven.
The chapel of Notre-Dame de Beauvoir was classified as a Historic Monument in 1921. »
Saint Anne's Chapel
Built in the 16th century with the stones of the towers and ramparts that protected the Paillerols district, this small chapel is home to the village cemetery.
Straddling the Adou River to distribute water from the source to the mills located downstream, this vestige now serves only as a testimony to the irrigation systems.
The cliffs on which the village is built and those overlooking it formed natural defensive lines, but Moustiers also protected itself behind ramparts as many villages did in the Middle Ages.
Like any typical Provencal village, the alleys of Moustier are home to drinking water fountains where thirsty men and animals came to drink. The small squares are equipped with magnificent wash houses which formerly welcomed the washerwomen.
Tourist Office of Moustier Sainte-Marie
04360 Moustier Sainte-Marie
Tel: 04 92 74 67 84
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